‘Lab rat’ label hurts writer

News of nutritional experiments conducted on children at residential schools brings back bad memories for Port Alberni woman.

To the Editor,

Re: Red Cross not part of experiments, July 25.

Being compared to a lab rat is hurtful.  Discovering that we were deliberately starved as children in residential school raises strong emotions; sadness, anger and frustration added to the fact that we were little children who could do nothing but endure.

The news story of July 18, brought back memories – deeply buried – accompanied by a sense of desperate sadness as I re-experienced what I did to try to make my hunger go away.  The most desperate act was to pick up old, dry plants and peel the outside bark to eat the softer, inner part as we were on Sunday afternoon walks, being herded like cattle in the field around the Anglican church.

Is it any wonder that a knee infection would not heal and I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where I had nightmares due to hospital staff coming to the door of my room to look at the kid whose head was wrapped in a towel, being deloused?

In spite of the fact that an apple orchard existed beside the girls’ playground, we were forbidden to go over the fence to get any apples.  Sometimes when no one was watching, a girls would crawl under the fence and quickly toss the apples to us. If caught, we had to give the apples back.

In Port Alberni, a few days after the story broke in the news about this “nutrition experiment,” I had a heated discussion with someone who proceeded to describe how aboriginals don’t know how to work and expect everything to be handed to them.  I was fortunate to have another female residential school survivor back me up, while other people observed.

During the discussion, a non-native male silently moved closer to us two women. His non-verbal message did not go unnoticed by the group. I appreciate the compassion that he silently demonstrated.

Wilma Doxtdator,

Port Alberni

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Alberni wrestler heads to University of the Fraser Valley to compete

Ravi Manhas is one of 10 recruits signed to the Cascades for 2018-19

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Construction on Hwy. 4 halted after tree crashes into traffic

Trees are being cleared along the highway between Port Alberni and the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Most Read